Nathalia Crane Child Poet 1925
A POET AT TWELVE
NATHALIA CRANE IS CALLED “the twelve-year-old poet of Brooklyn.” Of course she can’t hold that title long, but her present guaranty is found in two volumes of verse and an election to the British Society of Authors, Playwrights and Composers, of which Thomas Hardy is president. Her first volume, called “The Janitor’s Boy,” has run into seven editions here and two an England. Our page of “Current Poetry” took notice of her when the book first appeared. The other volume, “Lava Lane,” made its appearance last month. She is apparently born to the ink-pot, so to speak, as she is said to be kin to the late Stephen Crane, author of “The Red Badge of Courage,” and the well-known publicist, Dr Frank Crane. She will find few compatriots in the Society in which the honor of membership has just been extended to her. This personal sketch of her appears in the New York Times:
“Nathalia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Crane of 145 Henry Street, Brooklyn. She declared to those who came to congratulate her yesterday that her poems, the diction and thought of which have. caused much comment, ‘just came.’ Ever since she can remember she has been writing little rimes, she said, and reading everything she could lay her hands upon. There are times when she feels something welling up within her for expression and she sits down at a small typewriter, her father explained, and croons out the words until they seem to fit her thoughts.
“Amazing words for one so young are in her poems: ‘ ciccatrice, dinosaur, parasang, sistrum’ and figures of speech which are seldom comprehended, let alone used, by any other child of her age.
“‘I read them, heard them, found them somewhere,’ Nathalia said, and spoke of ‘Ivanhoe,’ ‘The Jungle Books,’ ‘Arabian Nights’ and ‘ Pilgrim’s Progress.’ She has even read the encyclopedia at times, she gravely admitted, ‘just for fun.’ Often she put into a poem some word only vaguely remembered from her reading, her father said, and then goes to the dictionary to confirm or change it. Nathalia has lived all her life in Brooklyn, except for brief journeys.”
A poem in the recent volume is called “Love Lane” and refers to a little negro girl; schoolmate of Nathalia. Another poem is in the Current Poetry page:
In old Love Lane on Brooklyn Heights
There’s an ebony bob from Arabian Nights;
She sings each eve of the Tom Moore roseâ€”
And the neighbors shut off their radios.
The people who pass through Henry Street.
They presently go with lagging feet,
For in old Love Lane a cantatrice shade
Is taking the thrills of Adelaide.
Shaking the sistrumâ€”a blackberry bob,
Dulcing the treble and daring the sob;
Never a wonder that listeners perch
On the mansion steps near Plymouth Church.
They hear the birds by a waterfall,
They see the rose that was last of all;
The dim garages grow less profane,
For something with pinions is down in the lane.
Source: The Literary Digest for October 10, 1925